Grace For The Journey
Mention the word, “homosexual,” and a variety of emotions can be evoked. For those who are positive toward it, homophiles, there is often pride and a sense of a call to win a battle for equal (though actually “special”) rights. There are also those who are fearful of it, labeled homophobic. Their fear may drive them to rabid activism against it or to the opposite extreme of shunning those who practice it. There are others who oppose it, often labeled as homophobic, whose emotions are ones of revulsion and pity. Then there are those who practice homosexuality. Their emotions range from boastful pride to shame and guilt.
I have no fear of homosexuality or those who are practicing it. I am not homophobic, though I oppose it and am extremely concerned about both the medical ramifications of it, the political agenda some of the radical groups have set, and the spiritual condition of those involved in it. I do have a sense of pity and revulsion. Revulsion because the
behavior and practice is so contrary to God’s Word. Pity because of the depth of sin these souls have slid into and the consequences of that sin.
But the real question is not
How we personally feel,
But what God says
In the Scriptures about it.
We are to align ourselves with that.
I have been collecting material on homosexuality for many years. When I pulled my research file, I noticed that it was next to my “homicide” file. As we shall see later in this study, that is fitting because not only is there a higher than should be incident of homicide victims being homosexuals, but the practice itself is extremely destructive. It is in a sense self-homicidal, and it certainly keeps the soul of the individual “dead in trespasses and sin.”
Paul warned about this in Romans 1:26-27. Paul does not bring this up as an attack on those who practice homosexuality, but rather it is simply an illustration of the downward spiral of sin that occurs when people turn from the God that created them and seek to build their lives by their own wisdom.
Remember that the book of Romans is the clearest theological presentation of the Gospel anywhere in the Bible. Paul introduces the theme for the book in verses 16 and 17 stating, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it [the] righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous [man] shall live by faith.’”
The Gospel message is about the righteousness of God, especially in His bringing about salvation for those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, you cannot understand this righteousness, or what salvation is, unless you first understand what you were saved from. Paul explains that in chapters 1:18-3:20.
We are saved from sin
God’s righteous wrath upon it.
Some might argue that they were ignorant of God and so not responsible. Paul explains in verses 18-20 that God has made Himself known and revealed Himself so clearly in creation that they are without excuse. Others might argue that they are already good enough to make into heaven. Paul destroys those arguments in these first three chapters demonstrating that all people, the immoral, the moral, and the
religious, fail to meet God’s standards and are unrighteous before Him. There is not even one person who seeks God on their own (Romans 3:10-12). God is righteous in His condemnation of man, but God is also loving, gracious, and merciful, and He has made a way for His justice to be met and for man to be saved from His sin at the same time through faith in Jesus Christ.
Here in chapter one Paul details the slide of man into ever greater sin. This is the natural and logical consequence of man’s actions with the truth God has given to him. As Paul pointed out in verse 18, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They willingly and purposely set themselves against the truth God has revealed. And as verse 21 points out, even though man knew God, he refused to honor or give
thanks to Him for who He is. Instead, man sought to understand the world according to his own thoughts, and shut out the truth, resulting in futile speculation. They may always be learning, but they are never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:6) because they already excluded the truth from consideration. That is, remember, the fundamental error in evolution and other worldly philosophies.
When a person turns from glorifying God and giving thanks to Him, they are turning from truth to futile speculation. This is the first step into evil, and it only gets worse from there.
If truth no longer controls,
It can only degenerate.
Since people are proud, they profess to be wise in their futile speculations when the truth is that they have become fools.
Now in saying they have turned from the truth, I am not saying they have turned from every vestige of truth. Man can figure some things out for Himself, but since his mind is given over to futile speculations, he will mix what truth he may hold with error. The idolatry that Paul pointed out in verse 23 is an example of that. They still acknowledge that there must be a something more powerful than man that controls things, but instead of turning to the Creator to glorify Him, they turn to the things God has made and worship them.
I pointed out the absurdity of idolatry in yesterday’s study. Isaiah speaks of this in Isaiah 40, 44, and 46. It is absurd for man to worship something that cannot speak, has to be carried from place to place, and either held in place with chains or carefully made so that it does not fall over. Yet, men pray to this object to deliver them from harm. They take part of a log and burn it to keep warm, part of it they cook their meal over, and part of it they carve into something which they then worship. It is utter silliness, yet
man has commonly done this throughout the ages even into our own time. What is even more scary about this is that demons can then become the source of power in idolatry to blind and entrap man even more (1 Corinthians 10:20).
There are relatively few people in our society that are involved in such blatant idolatry. Idolatry in our society usually takes the form of materialism, fame, comfort, convenience, entertainment, and power.
Anything you value
As more important
Is an idol.
God’s judgement for this is to is “to give them over.”
This judgement occurs three times
In this chapter and each time
It is to something worse.
In verse 24 it is to the lusts of their hearts in uncleanness to the dishonoring of their bodies in them. We usually take God’s care and protection for granted, however the truth is that it is God’s restraining hand that keeps people from becoming as evil as we could be. God judges here by moving back His restraining hand and yielding to let the person get their own way. They will then suffer the natural consequences of their own sin. The purpose would be to let the pain of sin that results from their foolishness cause them to turn back, but when they do not turn, the hand is moved father back and the
person is allowed to fall farther into sin with its consequences. In short . . .
God judges a person’s sin
By allowing them to become
Even more sinful
With its consequences.
Because man does not properly honor and give thanks to God for who He is, his speculations become futile. This results in exchanging the glory of God for idols with the consequential judgement of God in giving them over to their desires for what is impure. The natural consequence of that is the shameful and sometimes abusive treatment of their own bodies. The body becomes a biological entity like an animal. People pursue whatever makes them feel good regardless of whether it is good for them or not. They also then view other people as pieces of flesh to exploit for their own pleasure.
The spiral continues downward in verse 23 when people exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve what is created instead of the Creator. The sense of worship here is “giving reverential awe.” They give greater honor to what God has made than God Himself. A quick way to see how much a person is affected by this is to compare how much of their time and finances are given to the worship and service of God with whatever else they value in life – hobbies, non-essential material goods, hedonistic pleasure, fame, power, etc.
This false worship pushes the spiral further downward. The person may still acknowledge that God exists, but their lives revolve around themselves instead of Him. They may even seek to worship Him, but it will be according to their own designs, instead of God’s commands. God’s judgement comes upon them in verses 26 and 27. “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”
God’s restraining hand is pulled back further so that they are not only set loose to “the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (verse 24), but now also to degrading passions. We saw the verb form for the word “degrading” back in verse 24. It is that which is “dishonorable, disgraceful, shameful.” The word “passion” here is similar to “lust” inverse 24, except in this context, it is worse. “Lust” is the broadest of the Greek words for “desire” and may be used for good or bad. Here in verse 24 it is in a negative sense, but in 1 Timothy 3:1 it is used in a good sense of the work an elder desires to do. “Passion” is not as broad and denotes “evil desire,” chiefly, however, “as a condition of the soul rather than in active operation; ungovernable desire.” There is less control over the desire for it is a condition of the soul. It is easy to see that this is another step downward into evil.
The homosexuality and lesbianism described in verses 26 and 27 is an example of the degree these degrading passions will take the individual. It is important to note that the descent into evil that Paul describes here does not mean that every person will first become an idolater, then practice homosexuality, and then all the things described in verses 29-32.
The descent is in the evil heart
That first will not honor God
Resulting in the person becoming
Futile in their speculation
And darkening their hearts.
This results in arrogant foolishness
Of which idolatry is an example.
God gives them over to
The desires of their hearts
For what is impure.
A consequence of their actions
Will be the dishonoring
Of their bodies.
Man continues the descent down by giving his worship and service to what has been created instead of the Creator. God then further gives them over to their desires, except now the desires rise out of the soul. They are stronger and less controllable even though they lead to that which is degrading. Again, the homosexuality Paul
speaks of in verse 26 and 27 is just an example of this difficult, if not impossible, to control passion that degrades.
Perversion Among Women
Paul states that “their females exchanged the natural function for that which is contrary to nature.” Paul does not even give these women the dignity of the normal Greek word for “women.” He instead uses a word that just means “female.” The term “function” was commonly used for sexual intimacy and in this context could refer to nothing other than that.
Their practice is against God’s design,
But it should not be surprising that
Those who turn from God would
Also turn from His design.
Homosexual activists claim their
Practice is natural for them,
Yet even a cursory understanding
Of biology demonstrates that
It is contrary to what is natural.
Perhaps Paul placed the women first because it is especially illustrative of his point. Women are generally more reluctant to become involved in sexual immorality or perversion. Charles Hodge commented on this, “Paul first refers to the degradation of females among the heathen, because they are always the last to be affected in the decay of morals, and their corruption is therefore proof that all virtue is lost.”
Perversion Among Men.
In verse 27 Paul states that it was “in the same way also the males abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, males with males committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Again we find that Paul will not give these men even the dignity of either of the normal words for “man,” but instead uses a word that just means “male.” Paul is more descriptive about these males. Their passion is further described here as a burning desire, an inflamed craving. It is a lust that has been set on fire that seeks the object of gratification in order to make it it’s own. It is a consuming passion, but the object of the passion is a perversion that is indecent. Paul is reserved in his description of the shameful practice of these males with one another, but there is no question as to what he is referring to.
Their moral error brings back upon themselves the penalty due them. The consequences are two-fold . . . 1) There is the inflamed cravings that are continue to push for more. A study some years ago by Bell and Weinberg found that only 10% of homosexuals could be classified as relatively monogamous or relatively less promiscuous. 28% of white male homosexuals reported having 1,000 homosexual partners. 17% had fewer than 50 partners. 79% reported that more than half of their sexual partners were strangers. Homosexual men average between 10 and 110 different partners per year with some having 300 or more per year.
The emotional turmoil from this is tremendous. The tragedy of unstable and broken relationships is repeated over and over again. That will often develop great insecurities in the person. A constant question becomes “does the other person like me?” One male homosexual I counseled for a period of over a year was constantly in turmoil over that question. When he began to feel that he was not liked (based not on truth, but his belief that no one could really like him – evidence of the guilt he was living with), or when he felt insecure he would search out a quick homosexual encounter to gain a sense of being loved even it was for only a matter of a few hours.
There are also the physical consequences. The practice of homosexuality brings upon those participating the due penalty of their sin. What I am about to bring before you is not for the purpose of being sensational in the least. It is for the purpose of us understanding the risks of homosexual practice. I am not going to describe their methods of trying to satisfy their degraded cravings. There is no need to describe the details of their debauchery in a Christian Bible study. As Paul said in Ephesians 5:12, “It is disgraceful to even speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” I will only say that a significant percentage of their practices include acts that directly cause bodily harm, and the majority involve themselves in practices that involve direct exposure do intestinal diseases in addition to sexually transmitted diseases. A smaller but significant percentage of homosexuals are involved in practices of sadism, masochism, and/or violation of minors.
Rather than sensationalism, let me just give you some hard facts about disease incidence within the homosexual population. The high incidence of each of these diseases is directly related to their sexual practices.
Hepatitis A: The U.S. Center for Disease Control reported (Jan-Jun 2011) the following figures of Hepatitis A percentages of homosexuals among all cases. These are huge figures when it is kept in mind that the homosexual population is only perhaps 1.5-2% of the total population. Denver – 29%; New York City – 66%; San Francisco – 50%; Toronto – 56%; Montreal – 42%; Melbourne – 26%.
Hepatitis B: Between 50-75% of homosexual males have had Hepatitis B. 5-10% are chronic carriers. The national average is only 0.1%. Ninety per cent of homosexually active men demonstrate chronic or recurrent viral infections with herpesvirus, cytomegalovirus or hepatitis B.
Gay bowel Syndrome, Certain enteric parasites are collectively called, “Gay Bowel Syndrome”” because of their frequency in the homosexual population.
Sexual transmitted diseases. Reports issued in 1989, 1999 & 2009 show that between 70% & 78% of homosexuals reported having a sexually transmitted disease.
Intestinal parasites (worms, flukes, ameba) ranged from 39% – 59%.
AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was originally known as GRIDS – Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome – until the homosexual community protested. GRIDS would still be a good name for it. U.S. Center for Disease Control figures for 2009 for all cases are: 61% homosexual males; 21% I.V. drug users; 7% male IV; drug users who are also homosexual or bisexual; 5% heterosexuals; 3% other; 2% Blood transfusion with HIV infected blood; 1% persons with hemophilia. The percentage of the total being homosexual males drops over the years as that population is killed off
by the disease. As of 2012, 83% of U.S. AIDS in caucasians were homosexuals. Percentages of those infected can only be assumed because of laws restricting testing and tracing. This is the only politically protected disease that has ever existed. No wonder it is the only pathogen to have ever circle the globe in just 1/3 of a
Would not even basic compassion compel us to warn people of the risks of homosexual behavior? Yet, I am sure that there will be those who will hear or read this and accuse me of “gay bashing.”
God’s Historical Responses
The Bible is clear in its response to homosexuality. Yes, there are those that seek to twist the Scriptures and claim that the Bible is only against promiscuity and not homosexuality. But people strive to make the Bible say many things which it does not and which are not true.
Genesis 19:4-11 – This is the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the previous chapter the Angel of the Lord and two angels told Abraham that Sodom would be destroyed because the outcry was great and “their sin exceedingly grave.” When the two angels arrive in Sodom, Lot, Abraham’s nephew, takes them into his home. In verses 4 & 5 we learn that it was not long before men of Sodom come and demand that Lot bring the “men” out so that they might “know” them.
The homophile position is that they just wanted to get acquainted with the two men (angels) that were with Lot. They claim the sin of Sodom was improper hospitality. However, the meaning of this word “know” is always determined by its context. For example, it is used in Genesis 4:1 where it states, “Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth …” I think you can figure out what that means. I think any reasonable person can also figure out the intentions of these men which Lot called “wicked” in verse 7. Especially in light of the fact that Lot even offered his two daughters who had not “kown” men in an effort to appease them. In addition, the actions of these men who “wearied themselves trying to find the door” even after the angels had blinded them reveals these to be people driven by sinful lust, not people who just did not know how to properly get acquainted with visitors.
Judges 19,20 – Records a similar incident and a similar claim by homophile interpreters saying that the men of Gibeath just wanted to “know” in the sense of “get acquainted with” the visitor to their city (19:23). But again, the immediate context destroys such a notion in that the host tells them not to “act so wickedly” and to “not commit tis act of folly” (19:23). “Folly” denotes an “insensibility to the claims of God or man.” Thus an act done in disregard of God’s standards. Second, the host offered to them his virgin daughter and his concubine to be “ravished” by them and “do whatever [they] wished”
(19:24). The offer was turned down, so the visitor gave them his concubine, whom they killed in their getting to “know” her (verses 25-28). Again, any reasonable person can figure out these are men driven by degraded passion, not the desire to get acquainted with a stranger.
Leviticus 18:22 – Is very direct in stating God’s command – “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Homophiles such as John Boswell of Yale University want to equate this just with homosexuality that occurs in the worship of Molech in the previous verse. His exegesis is more than seriously flawed, but even if his point were granted, what then about Leviticus 20:13? It has no context of Molech worship and reads, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”
We could add to this New Testament verses such as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10 which also speak of homosexual practice as abominable sin. God’s view of it is already clear. It is a horrible sin which is a graphic example of those who have turned from God resulting in His giving them over to their “degrading passions.”
Responding To Homosexuality
How do we respond? First and foremost, recognize that this is not a political battle though there are political ramifications. It is a spiritual battle. It is a battle between good and evil, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Our goal is simply to be faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so, we will be involved in our society and be involved in political battles, but whether we win or lose those battles in unimportant in comparison to being faithful servants of Jesus Christ.
How should the Lord’s servants in respond to homosexuality.
#1 – Pray.
A) For homosexuals to be convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin and come to repentance.
B) For those in authority to be convicted of the sinfulness of the practice and the have moral courage to do what is right before God, regardless of political expediency.
#2 – Proclaim the truth.
A) Speaking the truth in love we enter into the public dialogue on homosexuality and proclaim the Scriptures. We should never shy away from the subject when it comes up. People may not want to hear what God has to say, but we are commanded to proclaim His word to all people. This would include not only social conversations but also the public forum such as letters to the editor, guest columns, speaking engagements, political forums.
B) Tell homosexuals the hope of the Gospel. Their sin can be forgiven and their bondage to it can be broken.
C) Let your government representatives know your beliefs concerning the various issue surrounding homosexuality. They may not want to hear it. They may disagree with you, but they need to know that God will hold them accountable for what they do.
D) Be supportive of those standing against the homosexual agenda
#3 – Personally minister.
A) Do not shy away from a person because you find out they are homosexual. They need a true friend and you can be it. However, keep in mind that a true friend helps a friend overcome sin. There will be toleration of sin as you work with the person, but there is never acceptance of sin.
B) Be involved in a ministry to homosexuals. That can be done either through one of many established ministries (You can get more information through Exodus International) or simply by seeking them out, befriending them, and sharing Christ with them. In special need would be those that have developed AIDS. Helping at a Hospice or AIDS clinic can put you in contact with an individual who is ready to hear of God’s love.
Pray for the Lord to lead you to the person He wants you to minister too.
#4 – Portray Hope
1 Corinthians6 tells of many sins that once characterized the Corinthian Christians including homosexuality and other sexual perversions, but they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the Lord Jesus Christ. At one point in time our lives where characterized by our sin, but after Christ comes into our lives we are characterized by Him. Our particular sins may have been different than the homosexuals, but we were in the same state. Dead in our trespasses and sin until God in by His grace saved us. There is hope by faith in Jesus Christ. That is the message we are to give both in word and by our lives.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”